My husband and I recently adopted a two year old dog named Thor from the local shelter. He's a mix of Australian Cattle dog and a retriever of some sort. He has a sweet personality and a delight for life.
Early this morning I got to witness his delight very clearly. We started off for a walk early enough that there was not much traffic on my street. At first I kept him on a short leash teaching him the command of heel. He's obviously trainable and understood and followed my commands. After awhile, I decided to give him some length of his leash to see how he would use his freedom.
No surprise to me, he delighted in having more room to explore. He sniffed every inch we traveled. Sometimes he'd pause to more thoroughly enjoy, or perhaps to identify a particular scent. When our path crossed with that of another walker, he'd politely sit and wait to be petted. His ears would perk up becoming super alert when another dog was in the vicinity. It was almost as if he was wanting to create a new relationship.
As I watched Thor enjoy the freedom of exploring, I thought about the length of my own, self imposed leash. It's my intention to give myself plenty of length to sniff around and see what I may want to learn about and explore more deeply. I tend to live that way most of the time, although there are times when I shorten my leash staying within familiar territory. When on a short leash, I know what to expect, yet I don't grow as much, and it certainly isn't as much fun. A short leash may feel safe and secure, but I always have a longing for more.
So, today's lesson from Thor is to give myself some slack and to sniff around the areas of life that seem to be calling for my attention. After all, what's the worse thing that can happen? When a leash is long, it allows you to move in any direction, including the one from which you just came.